Russia, European Union and the World Trade Organization: EU requests WTO consultations with Russia on import fee

July 31, 2013

The European Union (EU) has requested World Trade Organization (WTO) consultations with Russia regarding the Russian imposed fee on motor vehicles to cover the vehicle recycling costs.

Vehicles produced in Russia are exempt under certain conditions, and the fee is not imposed on imports from Kazakhstan and Belarus.

According to the EU, it is clear that vehicles imported from the EU receive less favorable treatment than those produced in Russia, Belarus or Kazakhstan, and Russia is therefore inconsistent with the WTO principles of non-discrimination.

Background

The fee was introduced on 1 September 2012 and is imposed on cars, trucks, buses and other motor vehicles.

The fee ranges from approximately €420 to €2,700 for a new vehicle, from €2,600 to €17,200 for a vehicle more than three years old, and for certain vehicles, such as mining trucks, up to €147,700.

The fee has a negative impact on EU exports to Russia and the competitive position of EU products on the Russian market.

The EU supports and encourages countries to take environmental measures, including those that deal with end-of-life vehicles.

Nevertheless, it regards Russia’s recycling fees as discriminative, arbitrarily and unjustifiably, against imported vehicles. The EU has repeatedly stated its concerns regarding the fee, without any result.

Therefore, it decided to address the issue in the multilateral context of the WTO dispute settlement understanding.

The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute under the WTO dispute settlement rules.

Bilateral consultations give WTO members – in this case, the EU and Russia – the opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without resorting to litigation.

If the consultation does not reach a solution within 60 days, the complainant party may ask for a WTO panel to rule on the legality of Russia’s provision.


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